Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.
Understanding sensory marketing
There has been a lot of research over the past few decades into how the five senses can affect consumer purchase decisions. The sum total of this research has resulted in a new field called sensory marketing, which seeks to relate to consumers on an emotional level via the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.
Sensory marketing was once confined to brick-and-mortar businesses that endeavored to engage shoppers and keep them in the store for as long as possible. With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the shift toward eCommerce, some question whether sensory marketing is still as relevant as it once was.
The good news is that sensory marketing is still a valuable tool in the arsenal of any modern business. Visual campaigns will always be popular online, but evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive brand experiences that engage other senses.
Sensory marketing examples
Taste encompasses the five sensations of sour, sweet, umami, bitter, and salty. When an individual tastes a product, they use the other four senses in unison to determine whether they enjoy something. For the business, it is important to move beyond the basic and widespread technique of product sampling toward creating a memorable experience.
New Orleans beer brand Second Line gave consumers the chance to sample a new IPA by taking selfies with branded props and be directed to the nearest store that stocked the beer. While consumers came to taste the beer, they also got to experience the hospitality that the southern part of America is famous for.
How can the consumer fall in love with a product or service with a hands-on experience?
Duct tape brand Duck Tape launched the Duck Tape Rolls Across America Tour to create brand awareness, engage consumers, and increase sales at retail locations. A large and very bright green bus toured the country with a range of interactive activities for duct tape enthusiasts, including product tutorials, fun craft projects, and life-size sculptures.
Most consumers appreciate the smell of baked bread in a supermarket or a signature scent in the cosmetics section of a department store. These smell-based experiences are no accident, with companies using them to connect consumers with some of their earliest and fondest memories.
American bakery chain Cinnabon deliberately locates its ovens near the front of each store to ensure the aroma of fresh-baked goods permeates the surrounding area. The tactic has proven so successful that some stores maintain the scent throughout the day by warming sheets of cinnamon and brown sugar.
The role of sight in consumer purchasing does not need much explanation. Consumers recognize brands, logos, images, text, and even color schemes in a mostly subconscious process.
Traditional strategies favor simple product displays, which work to some extent. However, modern businesses should also consider art, videos, advertising banners, magazines, whitepapers, and online catalogs. To create that much-desired emotional experience, visual stimuli can also be paired with auditory stimuli.
The Reunion Tower affords consumers commanding views of the city of Dallas from a height of 561 feet. While this experience is a feast for the eyes, visitors can also download a virtual reality app that enhances the traditional experience of looking out from a tall structure.
Sound is also a widely used technique in marketing, though the efficacy of radio jingles and television advertisements is debatable. Nevertheless, studies have shown that music is an important emotion regulator and that 75% of consumers will remain in a store if they enjoy the music that is being played.
To that end, Victoria Secret broadcasts classical music in its stores to create an atmosphere suggestive of a luxury shopping experience.
- Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.
- Sensory marketing encompasses a range of creative strategies across the five human senses. For best results, sensory marketing should incorporate at least two different senses in a single campaign.
Types Of Marketing Connected To Sensory Marketing
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